Showing posts from July 14, 2015

People with HIV live almost 20 years longer than in 2001

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[Isn't that great! :-) The costs they report here must have a LOT to do with that. "Better access to antiretroviral drugs has transformed outlook for 15 million people with HIV, says UN, but more funding needed to avoid Aids comeback." *RON*]
Mark Anderson, Guardian, 14 July 2015
People living with the HIV virus today can expect to live nearly two decades longer than those who were diagnosed at the start of this century, thanks to cheaper and more readily available antiretroviral drugs, the UN said in a major report on a disease once seen by many as a death sentence to be endured in secrecy.

The average HIV-positive person is now expected to live for 55 years – 19 years longer than in 2001, according to the report by the UN’s Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAids).

A sharp drop in the price of antiretroviral drugs, which are used to combat the HIV virus, and vastly improved access to treatment are behind the progress, UNAids said. The wor…

Poll: Palin Would Bring Much-Needed Dignity to Republican Field

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[The world is turning into a cartoon of itself. *RON*]
By Andy Borowitz, New Yorker, 14 July 2015

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—The former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would bring much-needed dignity to the 2016 Republican field, a new poll shows.

According to the poll, conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research Institute, Palin’s ability to articulate her positions on issues with precision and restraint is sorely lacking among other entrants in the G.O.P. race.

Additionally, voters said that the former governor’s breadth of knowledge in the fields of economics, foreign affairs, and American history would place her head and shoulders above the current crop of Republican hopefuls.

In the words of one voter who was surveyed, “When I hear some of these candidates talk, I sure do miss Sarah Palin.”

Despite the overwhelming sense that she would contribute gravitas and intellectual rigor that have been woefully missing from the G.O.P. c…

Is this drought caused by climate change?

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[The claim is that this is the worst drought since 1937. But just try to prove it, since Stephen Harper cut funding for the drought institute in 2011. *RON*]

By Charles Mandel, National Observer, 13 July 2015

Don Connick waited for the rain. And when the rain arrived overnight in mid-July, it brought some relief to the Saskatchewan farmer – but not enough.

Eight miles south of Gull Lake in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan, Connick grows canola, Durham wheat, red lentils and alfalfa on 1600 acres. This year, though, the crops are thin and short from the lack of moisture, and now the crops have reached a critical point in their development.

They’re about to blossom and set seed, but if the withering heat continues the plants will just dry up instead.

Connick is experiencing what one neighbor swears is the driest year since 1937. So far only about an inch-and-a-quarter of rain has kissed the land since mid-April. Everyone is quietly fretting, hoping…

Nestlé Water Backlash: B.C. Will Review Bottling Charges For Companies

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[I've never before heard the important point made by Judy Tyabji, which they bury at the very end of the article. BC currently charges for accessing the water, not for selling it. If we start putting a price on the water itself, it will fall under international trade agreements and we will be forced to sell our water to all comers. *RON*]
By Andree Lau, Huffington Post B.C., 14 July 2015

After a waterfall of public criticism, B.C. Premier Christy Clark says her government will be reviewing how much it charges companies like Nestlé to bottle the province's water.

Right now, corporations don't pay anything to extract and bottle water in B.C. Starting in 2016, new provincial rules were going to charge $2.25 per million litres.

For example, Nestlé's operation in Hope, B.C. would be charged around $600 annually for accessing roughly 265 million litres of water that comes from a groundwater aquifer.

More than 200,000 have signed an online p…

Pentaquarks, new subatomic particles, found at Large Hadron Collider

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[I feel more securely "put together" already! :-) "Discovery solves 50-year-old mystery about building blocks of matter." *RON*]
Thomson Reuters, CBC News, 14 July 2015
External Links
Paper submitted to Physical Review Letters
CERN press release
(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) outside Geneva appears to have proved the existence of particles made of five quarks, solving a 50-year-old puzzle about the building blocks of matter, scientists said on Tuesday.

Quarks are the tiny ingredients of subatomic particles such as protons and neutrons, which are made of three quarks. The less common and more unstable mesons, particles found in cosmic rays, have one quark and one antiquark.
New subatomic particles predicted by Canadians found at CERN

A five-quark version, or "pentaquark", has been sought, but never found, ever since Murray Gell-…

Austerity is a feminist issue – women will be hit twice as hard as men by cuts

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["We are witnessing an economic and cultural assault on women." The latest UK budget measures give a painful insight into the relationship between the UK’s austerity experiment and women. *RON*]

Frances Ryan, New Statesman, 14 July 2015
Buried amid coverage of last week’s Budget was a telling statistic: women will be hit twice as hard as men by Osborne’s chosen measures. According to House of Commons research commissioned by Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper, direct taxes and social security cuts will take £9.6bn net a year from families – £7bn of which is from women.

The media largely had more important things to focus on. The Sun, for one, was busy superimposing George Osborne’s head onto a six-pack.

From the coalition to their first majority Budget, the Conservatives have orchestrated policies that have wildly, disproportionately hit women: from cuts to tax credits to caps on and cuts to benefits, and pay cuts in real terms. Sc…

Highlights of the Iran Nuclear Deal

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[There certainly was a huge push to get this to happen before the deadline. As we have already seen, Netanyahu Calls Iran Deal ‘Historic Mistake.’ I wonder if the whole point of the push wasn't exactly that - to give Obama the satisfaction of one last kick at Netanyahu where it counts? *RON*]

By Associated Press / New York Times, 14 July 2015

VIENNA — Iran and six world powers reached a landmark nuclear deal on Tuesday meant to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. A look at the main points:

—ENRICHMENT: Iran will reduce the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges it has from almost 20,000 to 6,104, and reduce the number of those in use from nearly 10,000 to half that. It also commits to using only its current models, rather than more advanced centrifuges it had wanted to install.

—STOCKPILE: Iran committed to reducing its stockpile of enriched uranium from about five tons to 300 kilograms (less than 700 pounds) for 1…